People traveling north on the Gulf Freeway near Hobby Airport can easily see two brick and glass office buildings marked as Perry Homes, a longtime local home-building company.

Just behind the buildings, especially at night, a green neon sign stretching across the top of a massive white warehouse can also be seen on the headquarters of another successful, longtime Houston company —  State Sign Corporation.

“We do things like change the skyline (in west Houston) by putting up 8-foot-high letters on buildings,” said Grady Brown, State Sign general manager. “We do everything from the big high-rise identities to the H-E-B pylons, Valero and Whataburger signs, a lot of restaurants, including Gringo’s Mexican restaurant sign with that ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ look to it. We bring brands to life.”

The company also created and installed the Perry Homes signs that are noticeable from the interstate.

“We like to think that we are one of the highlights of the Hobby Area District because of the work we do and the impact we have on our community,” Brown said.

The history of State Sign, which designs, manufactures and installs custom signs across the United States, goes back more than 65 years. That was when Vic Coppinger and Frank Page opened State Neon Products of East Texas in 1956. Eight years later, Vic Coppinger brought in new partners Morris Wozencraft and Danny Zoch and renamed the business State Neon of East Texas.

After more name changes and buyouts, the business belonged to Zoch. He became so well known that the Texas Sign Association’s annual award, honoring someone who goes above and beyond to further the sign industry, is known as the Daniel P. Zoch Award.

Zoch retired in 2016 after more than 50 years in the business. But first he merged with Comet Signs, creating one of the largest sign companies in Texas, with about 300 people working at locations across the state.

“The key value . . . we offer is, first and foremost, longevity of our business,” Brown said. “And we’re one of the largest, if not the largest, in Texas. It is the history, the capacity, the capability, the quality of people and experience level of our organization and the wide variety of the signs we do.”

The company has centralized manufacturing at a 170,000 square feet facility in San Antonio, and 50,000 square feet  facilities in Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth.

At the State Sign offices at 7630 Hansen Rd. in Houston, behind the Perry Homes namesake, more than 30 people work to support eight crews of field technicians. The team includes sales staff, design staff, project managers and administrative staff.

“We have six crews of install technicians and two crews of service technicians. All of whom leave here every morning at ‘dark thirty’ and often don’t get home until dark,” Brown said. “They are busy installing and maintaining signs all across Houston.”

Brown also considers a statement on the company website to be important: “We come to work every day because we want to help you answer one simple question. ‘How can I get more customers into my business?’ For over 60 years now we have been learning, testing and growing our sign expertise and our ability to help our customers succeed. Much of our success today is evident in our history and we are very proud of the people who made us what we are today and strive to become in the future.”

— by Brian Rogers